The town of Narooma is named after the Aboriginal word for “clear blue waters” so it’s really rather appropriate that the course stretches out on cliff tops overlooking the Pacific Ocean with views of Montague Island to the east and Glass House Rocks to the south.
Narooma Golf Club is famed for having some of the best kept greens in New South Wales and the course throws up one or two surprises with several blind tee shots to be negotiated and forced carries across water at holes 8, 10 and 15. Holes 1 to 6 sit on cliff tops above the Pacific Ocean. The course then heads inland for ten holes (with fairways flanked on either side by trees) before the routing returns to the coast for the closing two holes.
The original nine holes were laid out in 1930 but Head Greenkeeper Harold Burke rerouted the course in 1952 when the club acquired additional land. Burke made the most of the new terrain and most of these links style holes have views of the Ocean. Course Superintendent John Spencer added a new nine in 1980 and the holes are laid through woodland a little distance from the coast with several of the fairways routed around a dam.
The signature hole on the property (“Hogan’s Hole”) is the spectacular par three 3rd, requiring an ocean carry all the way from tee to green. The hole came to national prominence when the actor and comedian Paul Hogan used the site for the filming of a Winfield cigarette advertising campaign in the 1970s.
Ray Bradley kindly provided us with the following Narooma course update in August 2013:
Until 1967 the golf course was a short layout (rerouted by Harold Burke in 1952) with sand greens and no water. With the help of NZ Golf Course Architect Sloan Morpeth, a new and lengthened layout was drawn up with new teeing grounds and putting green positions. The 'Hogan Hole' had a tee constructed on the cliff top to force golfers to play to a green situated above the cave. Ray Bradley, formerly of The Australian Golf Club, constructed the new 9-hole greens and fairways (including the 'Hogan Hole') to the Architect's specifications. In 1973 Course Superintendent John Spencer came to the club and completed the second 9 holes creating this wonderful 18-hole golf course.
Located on NSW's South coast, Narooma is a lovely seaside holiday town. The golf course at Narooma is the highlight of any golfing trip to the South and/or Sapphire Coasts. Other good courses in the area include: Moruya, Bermagui, Tura Beach, and Merimbula.
Narooma is a delightful course which travels through a variety of terrains. The first 6 holes traverse the spectacular clifftops with links like holes and dramatic tee and green locations. It is just a wonderful place to play golf! From there the course moves through a number of low lying holes abutting tidal lakes. They are good strategic holes, testing and attractive. And then the course changes up again and takes you into the hills and gum trees, before finishing on the cliffs again at 18
Narooma came to fame in the 1980's with a Paul Hogan commercial filmed on the third hole, which became known as "Hogan's hole". It certainly is a spectacular hole with the green on one side of a rocky cove, and the tee on the other. In between, a hundred feet or more below lies the heaving Pacific Ocean. Add a little wind, mix it all around- and you have the potential for some excitment in your round. And everyone should stop on the tee and get a photo with the green, and the cave below as a background...
Originally a nine holer, Narooma added 9 more holes in 1980 under the guidance of John Spencer. The original nine holes, which now feature as holes 1 to 7, 17, and 18 are routed along and over clifftops beside the Pacific Ocean. It is dramatic golf with gorgeous clifftop views, and spectacular green sites (2, 3, 5, & 18). The coastal tee on hole 4 is nice as well, requiring a shot over an inlet to the fairway.
It is a hilly site with significant elevation change- particularly on the first two holes, and holes 7,10, 11 & 18. You need to be fit to walk these holes!
Throughout the green complexes are nicely bunkered and both the greens themselves and the bunkers are smallish, simple and elegant. Nothing has been over engineered. It is all quite understated and natural
The only disappointment for me is the sharply downhill par seventh hole. It is an awkward hole that connects the wonderful holes preceding it to the newer holes designed by Spencer
The new nine, across the road, and through the caravan park, travels through different land altogether. Holes 8, 9 & 16 are routed through lower flattish sandy terrain, that is somewhat reminscent of the Melbourne Sandbelt.
Holes 10-14 are set in hilly eucalyptus forests with a couple of ponds thrown in, and big elevation changes- and hole 15 transitions out of the trees, over the lake, and into the sandy terrain again.
Of these, the short par 4 8th hole and the 15th over the lake are the pick of the bunch. The 8th would nicely fit into, say, Woodlands in the sandbelt. It is a lovely hole!
I must say I really enjoyed these newer holes. The ninth is a strong par 3, and the treetop tee shot on the par 5 eleventh hole was a thrill.
The fifteenth and sixteenth are also classy holes, with the tidal lake framing the hole and defining the tee shot on 15, and then a well bunkered green adding to the drama. Sixteen is just a lovely par 5 running adjacent to the beach through low sandy terrain, and framed by gums. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach to your right only enhances the experience
The final hole is back on the clifftops- with the green tucked around a corner on a promontory. It's an intriguing hole which improves with multiple plays as you gain an appreciation for the line and length required for the partially blind second shot.. There is a huge dip in the fairway and vision of the latter part of the hole is blocked by gum trees.
One can only speculate how good the hole would be if the club was allowed reduce the vegetation enough to allow vision of the green on the clifftop. Without those trees and with a little sculpting of the fairway 18 could present a brilliant finish with a risk/reward shot to the green you would not forget. In this scenario the hole would play as a 'cape' hole giving the player the choice of how much of the ocean to bite off. Speculation aside it is an interesting closing hole as it stands
Narooma is pictureque, challenging and just a fun course to play. It's a course that you will return to.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Set along the coast in the town of Narooma, this course has some open links style holes as well as well wooded parkland holes. It also features elevation changes and one par 3 requiring a cliff top carry. Quite spectacular ocean scenery, a well maintained course and a number of smartly designed holes mean the round maintains interest throughout. The course is also excellent value for the cost of the green fee.
If travelling along the coast of NSW south of Sydney, this is the best of the courses.
Narooma is one my favourite courses in Australia! It is where my golfing life started outside of Canberra, down the coast on family holidays.
The opening 6 holes start along the cliffs with the ocean collecting any stray shots on links style golfing holes, or by the abalone divers!
The signature hole greets the golfer early in the round on the 3rd hole and what a hole she is!
A 141m Par 3 over a cliff to a green surrounded by bunkering both sides.
The back 9 holes from 10 - 16 are through the natural rolling Australian bushland with the 15th hole the highlight!
Breathtaking front 6 holes plus the 18th, tight back nine section make for a truly unique golfing experience. Be careful of the wind on the coastal holes as well.
A course of great variety. The first 6 holes are played along or to and from the cliff and the rest of the course heads inland through the forest.
A tough walking course – not overly long at about 5900m but at times very hilly and some long walks from green to tee. If you are in holiday mode and you bring the kids out just let them know not to go near the sheer cliff drops that are 3 metres off the fairway at holes 2 and 3 and tee box of 4.
The opening holes are quite expansive and you can have a bit of a lash with the exception of # 2 where a draw or hook is wet. The greens are sizeable with a number of them tiered and it’s a good thing to be below the hole as they are slippery.
Holes 8-16 played across the road contain the best holes. The signature hole is #3 (very similar to #6 at Eyemouth) however the inland holes are well shaped and need much tighter driving as they are either tree lined or well bunkered with the lagoon playing a large role in a number of holes. For me holes 15 and 16 are the best holes on the course.
The par 3s (aside from hole 3) are a bit weak. 9 is a straight 170m, 14 is a slightly downhill 150m and 17 is a steep uphill 125m. None of them bring much to the table.
The par 5s are lovely looking holes but they are all a bit short, none of them stretching to over 450m and a decent drive will give you the chance to get home. The four par 5s however are all nice holes but just need another club or two of length.
The last hole is not long but is so steeply dog legged and protected it is almost impossible to have a go at the green. If you get a 200m drive (needs to be left) away you can either cut the corner and go for the green in a completely blind shot as you are going over some serious trees or you can lay up with anything as low as a wedge to have a straight forward shot into the green.
All up a very nice course that was in reasonable condition and occupying some great golf territory. An early 1990s book by Tom Ramsay “Great Australian golf courses” has 48 courses which includes Narooma. Unsure whether it would still hold a spot in the top 50. This ranking of 88 sounds reasonable. Warren